Thursday, September 08, 2011

McGurk Effect

Yesterday, I mentioned optical illusions in my post.  Many are unaware that visual illusions can also alter speech perception.  That is to say, the way you view something can change the way something sounds to your brain!

One great example of this is the McGurk Effect.  Watch the video below and listen to the sound that the man is making.  Make sure you are watching the man talk.  Then close your eyes.  Does the sound change based on whether you are watching him or not?

This effect is produced by visually recording the man making one sound and then dubbing a separate sound for the audio.  The interesting thing is, that for many, you can look away and look back and the sound will change for you depending on whether you are looking at the man speaking or not.


mary said...

Whoa! Have you tricked us? I distinctly hear two different consonants! How can that be?

Virgil S. said...

I hear two different consonants as well. I think it is quite nifty. Doesn't bahthah me a bit. Who was McGurk, I wonder?

Chuck Kelly said...

Me too - never seen anything like this before.

Nate Maas said...

What I find so fascinating about this is that the brain changes the sound you hear based on your visual input. It's as if your brain trusts your eyes more than your ears.

Nate Maas said...

Virgil, McGurk was the researcher that identified this phenomenon.

Mary, a technical explanation can be found here: